The Outback Retirement Center, (ORC), held a routine meeting on Monday, April 14 to discuss its monthly financial numbers and its on-going project to build a senior center adjacent to the North Lake Health Clinic, at which Pres. Merv Stutzman, Tim Warkentin, Hank Warkentin, Terry Nofziger, Bill Brown, Mike Weiser, Ava Parker and George Schmidt were present. Also in attendance were Jerald and Lindy Simmons, representatives from the Fort Rock Care Center, which by an unfortunate accident, burned to the ground nearly a year ago due to a believed electrical fire.
The Simmons’ presence at the meeting was anything but routine, however, as they were present so that they could award the Outback Retirement Center with a check for $250,000 in an unprecedented act of generosity.
Jerald Simmons said, “We felt this would serve the whole area better than we could serve it.”
By the whole area, Simmons means the communities of North Lake, Fort Rock, Christmas Valley, Summer Lake and Silver Lake. The main reason behind the Simmons belief is because of the new site’s location to other businesses.
The design for the senior center is located inside of a larger complex right off Christmas Valley Road, and near the center of town. In addition, the Center is only phase one of a larger project. The Fort Rock Care Center board decided on the ORC because of the multiple-phases in the plans. One example of this is the care process that dictates if a senior needs more assistance, he or she can move to assisted-living for care. Another example of the multiples phases is that not only is the proposed center’s location ideal, but the plan also prognosticates an 8-unit apartment complex with a laundry services, which will provide constant revenue for the senior center. who qualify to get to and from without it being too burdensome. With the Fort Rock Care Center, transportation proved difficult due to its remote location and target demographic. According to Jerald Simmons, those who qualify must be over 55 years old and of low-income. It often happened that the seniors who qualified didn’t own cars, didn’t have a driver’s license, or both. The new Senior Center will also be conveniently located near a gas station, a grocery store, a health clinic and restaurants.
“We felt that the goal of this particular facility they’re working on is.” he said, “the seniors could move in here and still be able to be mobile and go places.”
The $250,000 is part of the insurance money the Fort Rock Care Center Inc. received after the insurance company’s investigation. The Care Center’s board researched the prospects of rebuilding the Care Center in its former location, but, after careful deliberation, decided against it.